United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
ALETAA.TRAUGER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the court are the plaintiff's Objection and supplemental
Objection (Doc. Nos. 161, 164) to the magistrate judge's
Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) (Doc. No. 160),
recommending that the defendants' Motion for Summary
Judgment (Doc. No. 132) be granted and that this action be
dismissed in its entirety with prejudice.
forth herein, the court accepts the magistrate judge's
recommended disposition and will grant the Motion for Summary
Judgment and dismiss this case. All other pending motions
will be denied as moot.
Factual and Procedural Background
appears to be undisputed that the plaintiff filed a previous
lawsuit in this court, Raybon-Tate v. Chapman, No.
1:14-cv-00100 (“Raybon-Tate I”) (M.D.
Tenn. Aug. 6, 2014) (Compl., Doc. No. 1). Judge William J.
Haynes of this court, now retired, held a hearing on October
31, 2014, in which he received testimony from the plaintiff
about having been repeatedly assaulted by fellow inmates
while housed at South Central Correctional Facility
(“SCCF”) and about prison officials' failure
and refusal to take any action to prevent further assaults.
Based on the plaintiff's testimony at that hearing, Judge
Haynes ordered that the plaintiff be placed at Charles Bass
Correctional Complex (“CBCX”) pending further
order of the court. Raybon-Tate I (M.D. Tenn. Oct.
31, 2014) (Order, Doc. No. 16). The plaintiff, pursuant to
Judge Haynes' order, was transferred to CBCX sometime
shortly after the October 31, 2014 Order was entered and was
housed at CBCX at all times relevant to the present action.
Haynes also ordered that the transcript of the hearing be
prepared and filed and that the Clerk send copies of the
transcript (“Hearing Transcript”) to the Warden
of SCCF, who was the defendant in that lawsuit, and to the
Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Correction
(“TDOC”). Raybon-Tate I (M.D. Tenn. Nov.
3, 2014) (Order, Doc. No. 17). During the hearing, the
plaintiff specifically testified that Elbert Gleaves was one
of the inmates at SCCF who had repeatedly assaulted him.
See Raybon-Tate I (M.D. Tenn. Nov. 4, 2014)
(Hr'g Tr., Doc. No. 20, at 6-7, 10).
January 22, 2015, while in a holding cell at the Davidson
County Courthouse, the plaintiff was assaulted by Gleaves and
another individual (the “January 2015 assault”).
plaintiff filed the instant lawsuit on March 30, 2015 against
defendants Derrick Schofield, then the Commissioner of
TDOC; Tony Parker, then Assistant Commissioner
of Prisons; Stevenson Nixon as Deputy Warden of
CBCX; and Deborah Tomlin, then Institutional
Investigator for CBCX. (Compl., Doc. No. 1.) In the verified
Complaint, the plaintiff alleges that, pursuant to TDOC
policies and guidelines, the TDOC defendants should have
placed a “statewide T.D.O.C. incompatible”
notation in his record immediately following the hearing
before Judge Haynes, showing that he was incompatible with
the inmates who had assaulted him. (Doc. No. 1, at 4-5.) He
also alleges that they did not do so and that “they all
refused [his] request for incompatibles to be put proper[ly]
in the court [sic] to protect [his] life and safety. Which
led up to [his] being sever[ely] assaulted once against by
Mr. Elbert Gleaves, ” who was identified in the Hearing
Transcript as one of the inmates who had repeatedly assaulted
him at SCCF in June 2014. (Id. at 5.) He claims
that, if the defendants had followed TDOC policy, he would
never have come into contact with Gleaves while at the
Davidson County Courthouse on January 22, 2015. He alleges
that he suffered unspecified injuries from the January 22
assault that he feels have not been “properly checked &
clear[ed].” (Id. at 6.) As of the date he
filed the complaint on March 30, 2015, Gleaves and the others
who had assaulted him still had not been entered into
TDOC's computer system as incompatibles. (Id. at
relief, the plaintiff requests that the defendants be ordered
to add “all [his] incompatibles . . . into the T.D.O.C.
computer as statewide incompatibles” (id. at
5), that he be housed at the Lois M. Deberry Special Needs
Facility for the remainder of his prison term, that he have
“outside medical” examine him and provide
physical therapy, and that he be awarded $3 million in
damages and immediate release from prison.
defendants filed their Motion for Summary Judgment,
supporting Memorandum, Statement of Undisputed Facts, and the
Affidavits of Schofield, Parker, Nixon, and Tomlin, as well
as those of Marcia Campey and Patricia Crockett, in April
2017. (Doc. Nos. 132-40.) In their Affidavits, the defendants
expressly deny any personal knowledge of the plaintiff's
allegations of repeated assaults at SCCF or his requests that
the inmates responsible for those assaults be identified as
“incompatible” with the plaintiff on TDOC's
database until after the January 2015 assault. The plaintiff
filed a Response opposing the motion, which also includes a
response to the defendants' Statement of Undisputed
Facts. (Doc. No. 144.) Although the plaintiff denies many of
the defendants' factual assertions, he did not supply his
own affidavit or sworn statement to support his position.
magistrate judge filed his R&R on December 1, 2017. The
magistrate judge states that he construes the Complaint as
suing the defendants in their official capacity only
(see Doc. No. 160, at 2, 15) but, without addressing
the distinction, analyzes the claims as asserting individual
capacity claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He recommends
that the Motion for Summary Judgment be granted on the
grounds that the facts set forth in the defendants'
Affidavits establish that (1) defendants Schofield and Parker
had no personal involvement or direct decision-making
oversight in any of the decisions involving the
plaintiff's placement or the designation of
incompatibles, did not have knowledge of any grievances filed
by the plaintiff, and had never received a copy of the
Hearing Transcript and were not aware of the events that gave
rise to the claims asserted in Raybon-Tate I; (2)
defendant Nixon was not a defendant in the prior case, had no
specific knowledge about it other than that it required that
the plaintiff be housed at CBCX, had not received a copy of
the Hearing Transcript, was not aware of immediate threats to
the plaintiff's safety or of any reason to designate the
plaintiff as incompatible with any other inmates, and, as
warden, was not responsible for administering medical care;
and (3) defendant Tomlin had no knowledge of the prior
lawsuit, was not provided a copy of the Hearing Transcript,
did not receive information suggesting that there was a risk
to the plaintiff's safety prior to the January 22, 2015
assault, was not apprised that the plaintiff wanted
incompatibles put on his record until sometime in March 2015,
had no knowledge of the plaintiff's alleged injuries, and
was not in a position to offer the plaintiff medical care.
plaintiff filed an Objection and supplemental Objection (Doc.
Nos. 161, 164) to the R&R, asserting generally that he is in
possession of evidence showing that Schofield and Parker did,
in fact, receive copies of the Hearing Transcript, because he
mailed them copies himself, and Judge Haynes ordered that a
copy be mailed to the Commissioner. He also addresses factors
extraneous to the claims in his Complaint, asserting that the
defendants' actions regarding his housing and
classification before and after the January 2015 assault are
“fishy” (Doc. No. 161, at 2) and that all of the
defendants were aware of his prior history of assaults at
SCCF, because of the fact that it resulted in his
extraordinary transfer to CBCX. He insists that his entire
reason for filing this lawsuit is that, if the defendants had
taken time to “properly follow their own policies,
” they would have realized that he was incompatible
with inmate Gleaves and others and the January 2015 assault
would never have occurred. (Id. at 3.) He
specifically alleges that, pursuant to TDOC policy,
“[i]f an inmate is charged with assaulting another
inmate . . . [t]hose 2 individuals are immediately to be made
incompatible upon incident.” (Id.) In other
words, he insists, Tomlin and Nixon should, at the very
least, have ensured that Gleaves and the other inmate who
assaulted him in January 2015 were added to his
“incompatibles” list without the plaintiff's
having to take any further action. Instead, no action was
taken until after the plaintiff filed this lawsuit.
plaintiff also protests the unfairness of the current
proceedings, insisting that
[i]t's always going to be their word against mines. And
just because I'm an indigent man with a criminal record
and representing myself pro se and [they're] people with
a good background and . . . paid for legal team (Attorneys).
That makes their side of the story truthful. I don't
think that's fair.
(Id. at 4.)
to the Objection are copies of numerous certified mail
receipts showing that documents were mailed to Parker and
Schofield on various dates, but these receipts are not
accompanied by an ...